The Magician by Colm Tóibín

Reviewed by Rod McLary

Thomas Mann — the subject of this biographical novel by Colm Tóibín — is regarded as a major 20th-century German writer, perhaps one of the best known of the so-called “Exilliteratur” writers — Germans in exile who opposed the Hitler regime. Author of works such as Buddenbrooks (1901), Death in Venice (1912) and The Magic Mountain (1924), Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929.

Against a historical backdrop which includes World War I, the rise of Hitler and Nazism, World War II, the Cold War and McCarthyism in the United States, Tóibín’s novel examines the life of Thomas Mann from age 16 in 1891 to just before his death at age 80 in 1955. Although Mann lived through what can only be described as an eventful period in world history, the novel focuses on his personal and family life, his emotions and thoughts, and his art.

The Magician


by Colm Tóibín

Pan Macmillan

ISBN 978 17609 882 96

$32.99; 448pp

This is an extract from a review written by Rod McLary and published on the BookBrowse website.  To read the review in full, go to – 

To read the accompanying Beyond the Book article entitled ‘Death in Venice: book vs film’, go to –

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